In the face of the deepening climate crisis, partners gather in Bangkok to recognize and reaffirm new obligations to protect children’s lives and futures.
Bangkok, 9 November 2023 – In the presence of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. UNICEF’s work in Southeast Asia was officially launched today at an event hosted by the UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. It has started.
New general comments published in August explicitly address the climate emergency and the associated obligations of States to protect the lives and welfare of children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for the first time.
The launch of COMMENT in Southeast Asia was supported by UNICEF, in collaboration with OHCHR, UNEP, Children’s Rights Alliance Asia, International Network for Children’s Rights, Children’s Rights Information Center, Save the Children, World Vision and Terre des Hommes. It was hosted by
Speaking at the regional presentation, Anne Skelton, chair of the Children’s Rights Commission, said: “Children are pushing concerns about the environment and climate change to the top of the agenda, and General Comment 26 recognizes this, and on defending children’s rights legally and in the context of the triple planetary crisis. Providing practical guidance for nations and the business sector.”
The regional launch in Bangkok was co-convened by young people, with public comments focusing on the role of children and young people in leading the global climate debate. Young activists from Cambodia and Vietnam also joined virtually to share their experiences in climate change advocacy and highlight the need for urgent action to address biodiversity loss and rising pollution.
Prim Yong, a 17-year-old youth advocate from Thailand, said: “Poor air means poor quality of life, and it affects my rights, your rights, and our children’s rights. . Let’s think about the climate right now.”
The general comments specify that states are responsible not only for protecting children’s rights from immediate harm, but also for foreseeable future violations of rights by state actions or inactions today. Furthermore, it emphasizes that states can be held responsible not only for environmental damage that occurs within their borders, but also for environmental destruction and the harmful effects of climate change that extend beyond their borders. Particular attention should be paid to the disproportionate harm faced by disadvantaged children.
The adoption of this general comment followed a series of in-person and online consultations with children in 121 countries, as well as regional consultations in Asia and South America. Based on 170 written submissions from States, United Nations agencies, national human rights institutions and civil society, and 16,331 contributions from children themselves, this general comment highlights the diverse experiences and best practices of children around the world. It was guaranteed that the interests would be represented.
Speaking after the regional launch, Sopio Kiradze, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, said: “A healthy, clean and sustainable environment is essential for children to enjoy their rights enshrined in the Convention.” Ta. We need strong commitment from countries and businesses and effective measures. But close cooperation among all stakeholders is also inevitable. We owe it to our children. ”
This general comment is an important milestone and the result of global, regional and intergenerational efforts, stating that children’s views must be taken into account in environmental decision-making, and that children should be encouraged to take action. It emphasizes the important role of environmental education in preparing people to wake up, advocate, and act. Protect yourself from environmental damage.
“Boys and girls in East Asia and the Pacific are on the front lines of the global climate crisis. They are experiencing six times more climate disasters than their grandparents experienced just 50 years ago. ” said Deborah Comini, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “Climate change and its impact on children cannot be addressed by any single agency, organization or government. We must include the business sector to ensure children’s right to survival, protection, development and participation. It is important that we work together.”
Note to editors:
General discussion No. 26 can be viewed here.
Children’s version available here
UNICEF East Asia Pacific Region
Phone: +669 7310 3779
Phone: +668 6616 7555